OBAMA WAS RIGHT: This cop was stupid. How do you get to be a sergeant and you can't tell the difference between a homeowner and a burglar? Even after he presents a picture ID?
Second, what kind of policing is it to arrest someone simply because he wants to be left alone in his own home -- whether or not he says something rude to you? Being annoying or rude is not against any law. You can't use "disorderly conduct" as a catchall to arrest people simply because somebody looked at you crosseyed. After ID was produced, this officer had no case. He shoulda shut up, turned around and locomoted himself in the opposite direction. However, by then it seemed it became a cop ego thing and he had to show the man who was boss. (Actually sarge, Professor Gates, as a taxpayer, is your boss.) This is where it turned from cop-investigating-possible-crime to asshole-with-badge-harrassing-citizen.
Even in the radio call, which has been released, the cop acknowledged he'd seen ID from Gates but requested dispatch to "keep the cars coming" because Gates was "uncooperative." In other words, Gates didn't lie down and give the officer a shoe-shine with his tongue?
Again: Cops don't have the right to respond to hurt feelings with force and arrest.
Even if Gates did verbally overreact, it is a citizen's right. For a cop to return a verbal insult is unprofessional. But when a cop in addition uses force and arrest to respond to a mere verbal insult he has moved from unprofessional to oppressive and illegal.
Yes, policing is a tough job. But if you're the type to cry and stamp your feet because someone yelled at you, you belong in a nursery school, not on a police force.